Victoria police Chief Frank Elsner has filed a B.C. Supreme Court petition seeking an order to stop an external police complaint commission investigation into allegations he sent inappropriate tweets to the wife of one of his officers.

According to newly filed court documents, Elsner claims complaint commissioner Stan Lowe has no authority to order an investigation into conduct which has already been the subject of an internal probe.

The chief stepped aside in December after Lowe ordered the RCMP investigation; he is now seeking orders quashing Lowe's original instructions and preventing any further investigative steps from proceeding.

Inappropriate Twitter exchanges

The petition is the latest episode in a drama which began last August when the co-chairs of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board got a tip that Elsner had exchanged inappropriate Twitter messages with a female officer on another force.

The woman's husband is an officer serving under Elsner.


Police complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe ordered the external investigation after finding the internal investigation lacking. (CBC)

The board approached the police complaint commissioner, who sanctioned the internal investigation, which wrapped up in December with a formal reprimand.

At the time, Elsner said he was "deeply humiliated".

But after reports about the allegations exploded into the public domain shortly thereafter, Lowe claimed he found the original internal process lacking.

As such, he ordered an investigation into Elsner's conduct to be headed by RCMP Chief Supt. Sean Bourrie, with assistance from the Vancouver Police department.

Lowe also posted an extraordinary letter, detailing his concerns with the internal investigation. He claimed he allowed the internal investigation to proceed based on certain preconditions, which were not met.

But in his petition, Elsner claims he was never advised of any preconditions, and only consented with the internal investigation based on assurances "that the matter would be kept confidential."

Abuse of process

Elsner claims allowing the external investigation to proceed would amount to an abuse of process.

The petition also claims that Lowe relied on "irrelevant and/or extraneous considerations in issuing the order for external investigation, including media reports with respect to Chief Elsner's conduct."

In addition, the new court documents address allegations the chief spoke with witnesses connected to the investigation.

Elsner claims the report cleared him of any wrongdoing in that regard, finding that he spoke to the individuals in question "because he wanted to apologize for putting them in a difficult position."

"His conduct did not affect the integrity of the investigation," the petition says.

Elsner claims the RCMP investigation has taken steps in connection with the investigation, which include applying for judicial authorization to search various electronic devices and telephone records.

A spokesman for the police complaint commissioner says the office has been served with the petition, but has yet to file a reply.

Chief Frank Elsner's petition

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